Environment

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Environment consists of several aspects throughout the map that are largely intangible but can have a great impact on human inhabitants, wild animals, and plant life. Many of these aspects are ruled by the map's biome.

Weather

Weather events occur from time to time, with the current weather listed at the right edge of the screen. When a weather event ends the weather returns to Clear. Each weather event has a general effect on wind speed. Wind speed continually varies between 0% to 100% but it is not displayed onscreen. Wind speed is a direct multiplier of a wind turbine's power output. At 50% wind speed a wind turbine produces 1500W of its 3000W max.

Six main types of weather
Label Time of year Wind Effect on Accuracy Notes
Clear Any None to Moderate 100%
Rain Any Calm to Moderate 80% (No Fog) or 50% (With Fog) Rain intensity can vary. Rain will put out any outdoor fires on the map. Rain will turn into snow if the temperature falls below +2 degrees Celsius. Rain can cause electronic objects to "short circuit".
Fog Any None to Calm 50% Can accompany rain to create "Foggy Rain"
Thunderstorm Any Moderate to Extreme 80% (Rainy) or 100% (Dry) Thunderstorms can be dry or rainy. Lightning strikes from thunderstorms can ignite flammable objects, including flora. If accompanied by rain the fires should be extinguished without becoming a threat.
Snow Mainly Winter None to Moderate 80% (Gentle or Hard) Snow, in most biomes, mainly falls during winter when the temperature usually falls below freezing. It is possible for snow to occur anywhere up to +2 degrees Celsius. Snow can also occur during a 'cold snap' if the temperature falls below +2 degrees Celsius
Flashstorm Any None to moderate Weather Independent Flashstorms are extreme versions of thunderstorms, usually unaccompanied by rain. They strike many times in a row, obliterating anything in their path, and igniting anything flammable. Upon their release, these storms were game-endingly powerful even on low difficulties. Recent updates have scaled them back quite a bit.

Terrain

Terrain consists of the map's walking surface, terrain features, and mountain areas. Terrain affects things including walking speed, where plants can grow, and may prohibit construction.

Natural surface terrain includes soil, rich soil, marshy soil, marsh, mud, sand, lichen-covered dirt, gravel, rough stone (granite, marble, etc.), rough-hewn stone, shallow water, and deep water.

Terrain features include steam geysers and mountains. The steam from a geyser produces heat and an enclosed area around it will heat up unless unroofed. A mountain cannot be destroyed, even if all of its stone and ore has been mined out. What remains are terrain tiles listed as 'overhead mountain'.

Openness

Openness refers to the often critical aspect of structures being open to the outside. It affects many things such as temperature, item deterioration, light, exposure to weather, and certain events.

Every tile on the map falls into one of three categories:

  • Outdoors - not enclosed by any structure, even if there is a roof.
  • Indoors - completely enclosed structure, completely roofed.
  • Unroofed - completely enclosed structure, but with one or more unroofed tiles.

Temperature

Environmental temperature is affected outdoors mainly by the map's biome and by the current season. Temperature affects a plant's ability to grow. Temperature affects a human's comfort, and health in extreme temperatures.

Flooring

Flooring replaces the natural terrain. It has an effect on beauty, growing zones, and walking speed.

Beauty

Terrain, flooring, objects, and plants attribute to a tile's beauty which in turn can affect a colonist's mood. The contents of a tile have a cumulative effect on its beauty, i.e. a granite chunk (beauty of -10) on a wood floor (beauty of +2) gives the tile a net beauty of -8. Certain unsightly objects, i.e. vomit, have one value when under a roof and a lower value when unroofed. This simulates the general disgust of seeing eyesores indoors versus encountering them outside.

Clearance

As a colonist moves around the environment they observe the objects and free space around them to measure their clearance.

Flora

Certain plants and trees have beauty, and may also provide cover to colonists.

Light

Light can be generated artificially or naturally. Artificial light is produced by appliances in a limited range. Natural light is generated throughout the map on unroofed tiles. Roofed tiles will be dark unless lit artificially.

Occasionally an eclipse befalls the planet. Natural daytime light is no longer generated until it ends.

Light's importance lies in the four elements it affects:

  1. Plant growth - Plants only grow when the light level is at least 50%.
  2. Power - Solar generators only produce power when naturally lit.
  3. Colonists' mood - Colonists in sustained darkness will have the 'In darkness' thought. Sleeping colonists will not have this thought. Therefore, lighting is not needed in areas only used for sleeping.
  4. Cover - A pawn in darkness has a 85% modifier against ranged weapons (Shooter has a -15% penalty).

There are three light levels: Lit, Brightly lit, and Dark. Each tile on the map has one of these light levels. The light level of a tile is listed in the tile's information area located above the Architect menu (when the menu is minimized). The light level is immediately followed by the brightness given in a percentage (%).

Light levels according to Light (%)
Light (%) 0-29 30-89 90-100
Light level Dark Lit Brightly lit

Daylight timing and latitude

The timing and strength of daylight is affected by latitude and time of year, due to the planet's apparent axial tilt.

This effect is more pronounced at extreme northern and southern latitudes, which can result in light levels not reaching 0% at night or 100% at daytime.

Near the central latitude, light level change throughout the day as follows:

Start time Light level
4h Lit
7h Brightly lit
17h Lit
20h Dark

Artificial light sources

Light in roofed areas is provided by the following appliances:

Appliances that incidentally generate light are a crematorium, an electric smelter, a heater, and a campfire.